French diplomat sent to Tehran in attempts to salvage nuclear deal; EU to meet on JCPOA; Russia, China place blame on US; Netanyahu: Israel’s F-35’s can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria.

The European Union called an urgent meeting to discuss Iran’s violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, nuclear deal) as France sent a senior diplomat to Tehran in attempts to salvage the deal. A spokesman for the EU told reporters on Tuesday that the remaining European signatories of the deal “strongly urge Iran to stop and reverse all activities inconsistent with its commitments,” announcing the formation of a joint commission to address Iran and the future of the JCPOA.

France’s Emmanuel Bonne held one of several meetings scheduled on Wednesday, the first with the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, just days following threats from the council to increase uranium enrichment to 20%. He will meet with varied Iranian officials through Thursday.

Russia has also called for Iran to adhere to its commitments but placed blame on the United States for the current situation. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, met with British, French and German diplomats in Moscow. The Russian Foreign Ministry released the statement, “The Russian side confirmed that it is necessary to bolster joint efforts of all participants in the JCPOA, including Iran and the EU trio countries, in favor of saving the agreements and ensuring their full implementation on the basis of abidance by their commitments by all the involved parties and with due regard for the principle of reciprocity on which the Plan of Action was based initially.”

It claimed the “main challenges preventing an efficient implementation of the JCPOA” are the “systemic violations and subversive actions” from the United States. A spokesman from the Chinese Foreign Ministry also accused the United States on Monday of “bullying” Iran and claiming that its “maximum pressure” are the “root cause of the Iranian nuclear crisis.”

Meanwhile, during a security briefing with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi and Israel Air Force Chief Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norki at the Nevatim airbase in southern Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu warned Iran of Israel’s F-35 capabilities. Addressing Iran’s threats against the State of Israel, he warned Tuesday “Iran has been recently threatening the destruction of Israel. It would do well to remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria.”

Photo: Alexandros Michailidis/